The Here and Now is a new book by Ann Brashares that will be released on April 8, 2014. The story is a time travel romance, geared toward young adults, and it’s incredible.
The story is about Prenna, a teenaged girl who has traveled back in time to the present day in order to change the future. The future she comes from is a horrible place. People are dying from a disease that is so easily spread that people can’t even go outside. There is no school, there are no playgrounds, the world has gone completely to crap.
But it’s not just about her. It’s also about Ethan, the young boy who saw her as she came into our time, who gave her something that she cherished for years, even though she didn’t remember how she got it – didn’t remember HIM.
He knows more than she thinks, however, though she tries desperately to follow the rules and avoid contact with him as much as she can. He knows someone else who’s told him more than they should have, and he wants to help her.
The question is, what exactly is he helping her do? Will the things they do make the future a better place, or will they only make things worse? Can they be together, like they both want, or are they doomed to be separated by the rules, by fate – by time itself?
I loved this book. I thought it was amazingly well written. Time travel books, in my opinion, can be so hard to write. There are so many unanswered questions about how time travel would work, what it would do, what it wouldn’t be able to do or shouldn’t do. Brashares managed to avoid leaving any huge questions about how time travel worked, while making it seem utterly believable at the same time.
The relationship between Prenna and Ethan, though complicated by circumstances, rules and people determined to keep them apart, is very tender, sweet, touching and strong. Their feelings for each other are clear. I don’t want to give away whether or not they get to be together, but I will say that there are no graphic sex scenes. This is the kind of book that anyone could read.
The picture Brashares paints of the world that Prenna comes from is terrifying. It might be even more terrifying for the fact that it could be all too real. Maybe not the time travel, but the world that has nothing left to give, where people are starving and dying due to plagues? I definitely could buy into that happening one day – just look at what we’re doing to our world.
But what I really love is the way Brashares shares how Prenna sees our world. Coming from that awful future, Prenna has an amazing appreciation for the little things we take for granted – being able to go outside into the sun, planting flowers, swimming. Things that we see as commonplace, everyday activities are things that she enjoys the way we might enjoy a long planned island getaway. She’s able to see how precious those little things are and appreciate them in a way that we don’t. Although, I will confess, after reading this book, I do have a new appreciation for how I view the world.
This is an excellent book. Well written, ideal for all ages to read, and giving a different spin on time traveling romances, I think Brashares did a great job with this book and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.
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*I did receive an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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